House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said Monday he’s encouraging President Donald Trump to specifically target “bad actors” with the tariffs on steel and aluminum the president called for last week.
A number of Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have expressed reservations about Trump’s stance on global tariffs, fearing a trade war could have significant negative implication on the economy.
“[Subcommittee on Trade] Chairman [Dave] Reichert and I are circulating a letter because the concerns among members that encourages the president to tailor his actions to focus on and target unfairly traded products, and to exempt fairly traded products from countries that deal with the U.S,” Brady told reporters. “We think tailoring the tariffs strengthens the president’s hand in a major way, and make sure that American manufacturing workers aren’t caught up in the unintended consequences of broader tariff action by the president.”
Brady noted Trump’s call for broad tariffs is not set in stone, adding he spoke with the president twice last week and is in regular communication with members of the administration’s trade team.
“This will likely not be the president’s final decision,” he continued. “This law encourages the White House to monitor the effects of tariffs like this, to continue to adjust and tailor and exempt in a way that strengthens the goal, which is unfairly traded products and steel and aluminum.”
The Texas Republican said he is supportive of the president’s quest to strengthen the country’s trade deals, but wants to assure the right course of action is taken in achieving their goal.
“I think he’s exactly right in going after unfairly traded steel and aluminum — we want to make sure he hits that target and does it while strengthening manufacturing jobs from steel users, which there are a lot of,” he said.